Here’s my attempt at capturing the magic in the eyes of Sharbat Gula, the young Afghan girl made famous by National Geographic magazine. I did this with Stabilo Carbothello Pastel Pencils, Sennelier soft pastels and Faber Castell Charcoal PITT pencils.
I saw some soft pastel videos by Les Darlow on YouTube and was amazed by not only the final picture but also the way in which soft pastels can be layered and manipulated. If you get the time, have a look at Les Darlows vids and you’ll see what I mean.
I’ve always enjoyed working in black and white with soft graphite pencils but wished I could use the same techniques for colour. I don’t know how, but the existance of soft pastels had completely eluded me. I’ve had a few tries with oil pastels in the past but I just didn’t like using them.
After watching the videos, I did quite a bit of research on the net and after trawling through eBay, I was soon the proud owner of a used set of soft pastels and pastel pencils. Only one or two pencils had been used and they were only about a quarter of the price of a new set so I was really pleased with that!
I didn’t have any proper pastel paper so I used cold pressed watercolour paper cut to just over A4 size. The paper was rough enough to hold a decent amout of pastel but the downside of using it is that the texture shows through. Oh well, I don’t think it’s that bad for my first proper pastel picture though, is it?
I’ve got the more famous image of Sharbat from the cover of the magazine sketched out but I haven’t had the time to finish it. I hope to get that done soon.